Celebrate National Mental Health Counseling Week!
By Kendall Sandage
To the casual observer, it can seem like just about everything has its own dedicated “national time slot” these days, beckoning Americans to celebrate everything from frozen foods to pirate-speak and back again. But while plenty of modern awareness-centered holidays are indeed whimsical, a few speak to more serious issues, and National Mental Health Counseling Week is certainly among them. Taking place from the sixth through the twelfth, the special week has been created to help bolster the role of counseling in America’s communities and to work towards washing away the stigmas still attached to mental health care in many areas.
An informal affair that’s not likely to find a special section in the greeting cards department, the week-long holiday is nevertheless an important calendar highlight for professionals around the country, as well as those touched by their work. Many areas are celebrating in ways that reflect local interactions with psychotherapy and counseling. In Laconia, New Hampshire, area schools are taking a time-out to acknowledge and honor school nurses, many of whom serve as counselors and interact with childrens’ mental health on a daily basis. The nurses are subject to special accolades as National Nurse Week coincides with Mental Health Counseling Week.
In the eastern town of Meridian, Mississippi, organizers are focusing on the ability of mental health counseling and psychotherapy to aid in the suffering of senior citizens, who are finding increasing opportunities to seek professional help. On the other end of the age spectrum, children in Tampa Bay, Florida, and their loved ones can experience the ability of psychotherapy to empower lives even in their earliest stages with free youth mental health screens. Though the week might not stir up quite as much publicity as National Talk Like a Pirate Day, its power to inspire and enlighten communities certainly something to celebrate.